The Faith of Abraham
(Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.)
This is the key to faith -- that God will keep His promises.
Although not perfect, there were many men throughout the Bible that pleased God, keeping God's commandments and worshiping Him. The first one we want to study closely is Abraham, because it is through Abraham's descendants that the Grace of God was promised, and through which the Messianic line flows, and he was the first chosen to prepare the Messianic Nation as God's chosen people through which Christ would come to bless all Nations.
Abraham was considered the "Friend of God". One of the finest characteristics of a friend is that they are trustworthy as well as trusting in the one they consider to be their friend. And that was the finest characteristic of Abraham, for he trusted God completely, obeying divine commands through faith alone that God would keep His promises.
It was not the performing of his duty, but the proof of his love. All through the Old Testament God said to man "If you will.......I will bless you". The promises to Abraham; the promises to the children of Israel when they stood before Mr. Sinai; the promises God gave through the prophets when the Israelites would cry out to God in their captivity. God always demanded obedience, but with it He promised blessings and life.
(Ezekiel 18:4-9 He that hath ........ walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.)
Abraham believed God and obeyed Him, and by this obedience, God considered Abraham righteous. It is in this manner we are made righteous; by our obedience to God's divine commands through our faith alone that, in Jesus Christ, God will keep His promises.
(2 Cor. 5:21......we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him).
It is God's Grace that gives us the opportunity to return to Him in spite of our sins, and it is by this faith that we willingly follow His commands that puts us in a good relationship with God.
(Eph. 1:5 - 8 He predestined us to adoption as sons through praise of the glory of His grace, according to the kind intention of His will, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us)
It is God's grace that gives us the opportunity to return to Him, not only proffered to us under the dispensation of the New Testament, but to those who lived by faith under the law.
(Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all....)
(Rom. 6: 3-7 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin).
It is the circumcision of the heart, and the "flesh" is cut off. The desires for this world are severed from the desires of the soul, or the spirit of man.
Jesus told us that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments, and He promised that He would be with us "even unto the end of the world". And His first command was to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness, even as He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness.
(Matt. 3:15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness).
Christ did not see corruption because He "died" to sin (death is separation from), and because of His righteousness, He was made alive in the Spirit. He was made perfect by obedience, without blemish, and He became the sacrifice for our sins. We therefore can “die to sin” and be buried in the waters of baptism and be raised to walk a new life symbolic of being born again.
For (Romans 8:10... if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness).
And then, to go and baptize others in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all the things Christ taught them to do. (Matthew 20: 18-20).
More than once, Abraham was given the opportunity to prove his Faith in obedience to God's divine command. The first time, God told Abram, as he was then known, to leave country, friends, and family and go where God would lead him, and promised him that He would greatly bless him. So, believing God, that He would keep His promises, Abraham took all his belongings and all his family, and traveled where God led him, until a period of "learning" to trust God completely was fulfilled, as in the desert of "testing". God made a covenant with Abraham, and changed his name from Abram to Abraham. (Genesis 12). God promised to bless Abraham and his descendants with prosperity, and land, and that through his descendants all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Abraham never possessed the land himself but was a nomad living in tents all his life, although he saw the physical land which God promised to him and his descendants.
(Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth).
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